June 3, 2023
Dublin, Ohio, USA
Q. How was today compared to maybe the first three days swing-wise?
RORY McILROY: Similar, I would say. Felt like I have hit the ball pretty well this week. The big thing for me around here with how penal it is off the tee is just getting the ball in play. So throttling back, hitting a lot of 3-woods, irons off tees. Using the driver sort of sporadically. That's been the game plan and that's what's really worked over the last three days.
Q. I don't think you've ever played with Lipsky at least on a Sunday. Can you remember ever playing with him in Europe?
RORY McILROY: Not on the PGA TOUR. I might have played with him in Europe somewhere when he was over there and playing more regularly. I certainly played with him, whether that would be in a tournament or a practice round I've certainly played a few holes with him.
Q. When you're paired with someone who maybe he hasn't won on the PGA TOUR, do you consider that an advantage and if so why?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, look, it's a, like it's a big tournament and I've got quite a bit of experience in that and you would like to think that that gives you a little bit of an advantage. So everyone's going to go out there tomorrow and, regardless of where you are in the tournament, this golf course makes you a little uncomfortable anyway. So everyone's going to be feeling like that. With the way the leaderboard is and how bunched it is, it's just going to come down to who can sort of hold their head the most coming down the stretch.
Q. You just look at numbers on a board and you didn't have to do a ton to be in the last group, be near the lead, whatever, but was it harder work to get to where you are?
RORY McILROY: Yeah.
Q. Looks deceiving, a little bit?
RORY McILROY: A little bit. I don't think I hit a green from the 8th hole through the 14th hole, and I played those holes in even par, I guess.
Q. Chip in --
RORY McILROY: Yeah, chip in on 12 and got it up-and-down from some tricky spots. So, yeah, I was really happy with how I scored out there and how I just sort of hung in there for most of the day. Played those last few holes pretty well, especially 17 and 18.
Q. Did you have that sense at some point in the middle of the round that that's what it's all about today?
RORY McILROY: Yeah. So walking up the 11th I got lucky off the tee and my ball didn't go into the creek. When I made 5 at 11, I said to Harry, Let's try to break 70 today. I think that will be a really good score. I was 1-under at the time -- or actually even at the time. And I chipped in on 12 and I was trying to get -- I thought maybe 14 and 15 were chances.
But I think 70 out there, especially this afternoon at the time that we were playing, obviously there was some really low scores this morning, and that's sort of what -- I think what happens when the conditions are like this. Guys can go out and shoot a low one early on and then the leaders have the toughest of the conditions. You just have to hang on.
Q. You've won before without your best, clearly. What's sort of the mindset when you're sort of feeling like this and as you told us yesterday, still working through some things?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, just hanging in there. As I said, getting the ball in play off the tee is really important for me. Yeah, and embracing it. There was a couple of shots out there when I missed the greens that I was sort of looking forward to hit. I think it's embracing that challenge and embracing the fact that you're probably not going to hit more than 12 or 13 greens out there. And I think with how my short game's been this week it's something I've been able to fall back on, which has been great.
Q. There's been a couple shots just on 16, if you were telling someone what's the best way to play that hole would you have a decent answer?
RORY McILROY: I think today if you had the, honestly, if you had the balls to do it, is to play sort of right of the pin, but front edge. With like -- for me like that would have been an 8-iron. And I think if you were the caddie it's a lot easier to tell someone to do that rather than be the one that's hitting the shot.
So, but I tried to hit a 7-iron and take some off it. But always knowing that that back trap is not terrible. You're always going to have a chance to make a 3 from there.
Q. Water didn't concern you with coming from a little bit of a down slope?
RORY McILROY: No, there was plenty of green to work with. I never thought that was an issue.
Q. What would it mean to win this tournament and secondly, Thursday's round ended with a triple bogey. You had a terrible break on 18. How did you kind of regroup from that and what's the challenge to be able to do that instead of stew over it for a whole day?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, first of all, it would mean a ton to me to win this tournament. I've played pretty well here over the years without really having a realistic chance to win. So to be able to walk up that hill from 18 and get that handshake from Jack would be pretty nice. I won Arnold's tournament a few years ago, but he had already passed by the time. So it would be so nice to be able to do it and have Jack be there and stuff. It would be really cool.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports